Federal emergency funds approved for Leo Frigo Bridge in Green Bay
October 4, 2013
Governor Scott Walker today announced the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has determined that repairs to the I-43 Leo Frigo Bridge in Green Bay are eligible for funding under the Emergency Relief Program. Governor Walker initiated the process to receive federal funding last week by issuing Executive Order 114, which declared a transportation emergency in Brown County due to the bridge closure.
"We appreciate the FHWA's prompt response to help us complete needed repairs to the Leo Frigo Bridge while meeting the Governor's commitment to get this work done safely and as quickly as possible," said Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Mark Gottlieb.
"The Leo Frigo Bridge is essential for the Green Bay area economy and the federal funds will assist us in our efforts to get it repaired and back in operation as soon as possible for the many people who depend on it every day," Governor Scott Walker said. "I would also like to recognize workers at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for their handling of this major event. They have excelled not only in their response, but also, the federal Highway Administration Review determined the bridge was properly maintained and inspected and there is nothing that could have been done to avoid this bridge failure."
The federal funds will cover 100 percent of emergency repairs within 180 days following the bridge's closure on September 25, 2013. After the first 180 days, emergency repairs and all permanent repairs will be at a 90 percent federal share. The preliminary estimate for repairing the bridge is currently $50 million, although that number could change as a more detailed plan is developed to fix the structure.
In a letter sent to WisDOT Secretary Gottlieb on Thursday, FHWA Division Administrator George Poirier stated, "FHWA has determined that the bridge design and construction met applicable standards at the time it was constructed, and that the bridge appears to have been properly maintained and inspected. It does not appear to FHWA that there is anything that the State could have reasonably done to have anticipated or avoided this failure."
WisDOT is moving quickly to utilize the federal funds. Late Thursday, bridge engineers detected an additional half-inch settlement of Pier 22—the first time settlement has been detected since the pier settled approximately two feet on September 25 causing pavement to sag on the deck above.
Within the next few days, support towers will be erected adjacent to the pier to stabilize the structure and protect workers as the investigation proceeds and a repair plan is developed. A preliminary investigation has revealed that pilings below Pier 22 have corroded and buckled, possibly due to soil conditions and the rise and fall of the water table at the location. There is still no estimate on when the bridge may reopen.
For more information, contact:
Communications Manager Kim Rudat, WisDOT NE Region
(920) 492-5743, firstname.lastname@example.org